FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
July 24, 2015
Bible Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XVIII
THE PROPHETIC TIMETABLE FROM THE COVENANT WEEK TO 538 A.D.
“It suits the policy of Satan that men should retain the forms of religion if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking. After the rejection of the gospel, the Jews continued zealously to maintain their ancient rites they rigorously preserved their national exclusiveness, while they themselves could not but admit that the presence of God was no longer manifest among them. The prophecy of Daniel (9: 24-27) pointed so unmistakably to the time of the Messiah’s coming, and so directly foretold His death, that they discouraged its study, and finally the rabbis pronounced a curse on all who should attempt a computation of time [of the seventy-week prophecy]” –E. G. White, Great Controversy (1911), p. 378.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ whom all Bible-believing Christians profess to be the Creator, their Lord and Savior, merciful High Priest, all-powerful Advocate and Mediator because of His all-atoning sacrifice at Calvary, “offered once and for all”(Heb. 9: 28), instructed His disciples, particularly in these last days to study the book of Daniel ( with Revelation). The occasion was when He revealed to His disciples that their beloved city, Jerusalem with the Temple which they venerated as embodying their national greatness and exclusiveness, holding it to be indestructible and impregnable (for Herod built, embellished, and fortified it for 46 years, John 2: 20), would be desolated that “not one stone would be left upon another.” Matt. 24: 1-3; Mark 13; 1-3; Luke 19: 41-44; 21: 20-24. In utter disbelief they “asked Him privily” a two-part question, the former of time, the latter, of circumstances: “Tell us, When shall these things be, and what shall be the signs of Thy coming and the end of the world”?
The disciples correctly linked Christ’s second coming with the end of the world for He did not correct them, meaning, it was the truth. Rather, He replied, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolationspoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand:) . . . . . “(Read till verse 22). “Whoso readeth let him understand” is not just a passive reminder. In His three-and-a-half- year mission on earth, “the Teacher come from God,” never taught merely to inform or perform to satisfy unsanctified curiosity but to call man out from the darkness of ignorance and sin into His marvelous light of truth and righteousness, and to willingly act intelligently, spiritually, courageously, and with dispatch upon His words and His law. Unheeded, this admonition becomes self-condemnation for many indeed, read, but few are willing to understand the aspects of present truth that require self-surrender and self-denial, giving up cherished ideas, opinions, and popular life-styles perpetuated by traditions, including “the religion of the masses,” not the religion of Christ.
E.G. White points out the antityical fulfillment of the desolation of the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people in A.D. 70 by the Roman army led by general Titus, son of Vespasian who, in six months time, beginning in the Passover that year. First: “The slaughter within was more dreadful than from the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”- Milman,The History of the Jews, book 16. . . . Both the city and the temple were razed to their foundations, and the ground upon which the holy house has stood was ‘plowed like a field.’ Jer. 26:18. In the siege and the slaughter that followed, more than a million of the people perished; the survivors were carried away as captives, sold as slaves, dragged to Rome to grace the conqueror’s triumph, thrown to wild beasts in the ampitheaters, or scattered homeless wanderers throughout the earth.”- The Great Controversy, (1911), p. 45.
“The Savior’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law. Dark are the records of human history that earth has witnessed during its long centuries of crime. The heart sickens, and the mind grows faint in contemplation. Terrible have been the results of rejecting the authority of Heaven. But a scene yet darker in the revelations of the future. The records of the past,—the long procession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions, ‘the battle of the warrior. . . with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood’ (Isaiah 9: 5),—what are these, in contrast with the terrors of that day when the restraining Spirit of God shall be wholly withdrawn from the wicked, no longer to hold in check the outburst of human passion and Satanic wrath! The world will then behold, [as it is beginning now], as never before, the results of Satan’s rule.
“But in that day, as in the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, God’s [commandment-keeping] people will be delivered, everyone that shall be found written among the living. Isaiah 4: 3. Christ has declared that He will come the second time to gather His faithful ones to Himself: [Matt. 24: 30, 31 quoted]. Then shall they that obey not the gospel be consumed by the spirit of His mouth and be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2: 8. Like Israel of old the wicked destroy themselves; they fall by their iniquity. By a life of sin, they have placed themselves so out of harmony with God, their natures have become so debased with evil, that the manifestation of His [character and lumen] glory is to them a consuming fire.
“Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. As He warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of its approaching ruin, that they might make their escape’ so He has warned the world of the day of final destruction and has given them tokens of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come. Jesus declares [Luke 21: 25; Matthew 24: 29; Mark 13: 24-26; Revelation 6: 12-17 quoted.] Those who behold these harbingers of His coming are to ‘know that it is near, even at the doors.’ Matthe 24: 33. ‘Watch ye therefore,’ are His words of admonition. Mark 13: 35. They that heed the warning shall not be left in darkness, that that day should overtake them unawares. But to them that will not watch, ‘the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’ 1 Thessalonians 5: 2-5.
“The world is no more ready now to credit the message for this time [the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14] than were the Jews to receive the Savior’s warning concerning Jerusalem. Come when it may, the day of God will come unawares to the ungodly. When life is going on in its unvarying round of; when men are absorbed in pleasure, in business, in traffic, in money-making; when religious leaders are magnifying the world’s progress and enlightenment, and the people are lulled into a false security—then, as the midnight thief steals within the unguarded dwelling, so shall sudden destruction come upon the careless and ungodly, ‘and they shall not escape.’1 Thessalonians 5: 3.”- E. G. White, Great Controversy, 1911 ed., pp. 36-38.
Three Watershed Events in the Year 538 A.D.
After Clovis’s’ conversion to Roman Catholicism in 508 A.D., three major events took place thirty years later, 538 A.D., that would unalterably set the course of Church history for it was the start of the darkest history of the church and the world—the Dark Ages. These three major events were:
1. The last of the three Arian nations opposing the supremacy of the pope, the Ostrogoths, finally “uprooted” by an act of betrayal.
“Witigis (Vitiges) was now the king of the Ostrogoths, and Rome was continuing its usual policy. Professor J. B. Bury says: ‘In the meantime Belisarius had left Naples and was marching northward. The Roman, warned by the experiences of Naples, and urged by the Pope, who had no scruples in breaking his oath to Witigis, sent a messenger inviting him to come. He. . . . entered Rome on Dec. 9, A.D. 536.’ – History of the Later Roman Empire,’ Vol. II, pp. 179, 180.
“Such, then, was the Pope Silverius. . . . who, having sworn a solemn oath of fealty to Witigis, now, near the end of 536, sent messengers to Belisarius to offer the peaceful surrender of the City of Rome.’ – “Italy and Her Invaders,” T. Hodgkins ( 8-vol. ed.), Vol. IV, Book 5, p. 93:1885.
“Rome betrayed. The Catholics, on the first approach of the emperor’s army, boldly raised the cry that the apostolic throne (!) should no longer be profaned by the triumph and toleration of Arianism, not the tombs of the Caesars trampled by the savages of the North; and deputies of the pope and clergy, and what is called the senate and people [collaboration of church and state], waited upon the approaching army to whom they threw open the gates of the city; and the Catholics were rewarded for their treason by the apparent respect of Belisarius for the Pope.’ –‘ History of the Christian Church,’ N. Summerbell, p. 340, third edition, Cincinnati: 1873.
“Witigis then besieged the city of Rome from March, 537, to March, 538, when he raised the siege, after losing the flower of his army, and retired to Ravenna, his capital. T. Hodgkin says: ‘With heavy hearts the barbarians must have thought, as they turned them northwards, upon the many graves of gallant men which they were leaving on that fatal plain. Some of them must have suspected the melancholy truth that they had dug one grave, deeper and wider than all, the grave of the Gothic monarchy in Italy.’—‘Italy and Her Invaders,’) 8-vol. ed.) Vol. IV, p. 285.
“A deathblow was thus given to the Ostrogoths in 538 A.D., and their attempts to re-establish themselves after this were but the last flicker of a lamp being extinguished. Belisarius followed them this same year to their ‘last stronghold of power. Ravenna was soon entered by the troops of the empire, and with it fell the great kingdom of the Ostrogoths.’ –‘The Fall of Rome,’ J. G., Sheppard, p. 306. London: 1892.
‘Then occurred a singular phenomenon,—the annihilation and disappearance of a great and powerful people from the world’s history.’ – Id., p. 307.
“But all remember, that the ‘success of Justinian’s invasion was due to the clergy; in the ruin they brought upon their country, and the relentless tyranny they drew upon themselves, they had their reward.’ –‘History of the Intellectual Development of Europe,’ J. W. Draper, M.D., LL.D., Vol. I, p. 355. New York: Harper Bros., 1889.
“The last of the three Arian ‘horns’ of Daniel 7: 8 had passed away, and with it passed also the liberty of the common people. Dr. Summerbell truthfully says:
‘The Dark Ages, introduced by the persecution of an enlightened Church in the sanguinary wars of Justinian to exalt the Catholics, continued to the fourteenth century. It was a long, dark night, whenignorance, bigotry, and cruelty reigned, and truth, purity, and justice was crushed out.’ –‘History of the Christian Church,’ p. 342.”- (Quoted in “Facts of Faith, Christian Edwardson, pp. 47, 48, 49, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN., 1943.)
2. Roman Catholicism was made the state religion by an edict of Justinian by forbidding all other religions. Religious liberty was dead. Moreover, the Romish Church convened the Council of Orleans and outlawed country labor on Sunday, punishable by death, which Constantine, by his decree 217 years earlier in 321 A.D., allowed.
3. The Roman Catholic Church was placed under the protection of the State. This union of church power with state power, religious with the civil, which God expressly forbids, and the Founding Fathers clearly recognized, is the very foundation of the fundamental freedoms and liberties defined and protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. The twin secrets of America’s peace and prosperity are the separation of church and state, which we enjoy to this very moment. But it will not always be so. As Benjamin Franklin sagely penned: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Historical Review of Pennsylvania.
(To be continued next week)